Milk or Mangoes

DV Ghanekar
DV Ghanekar

NDDB 1974- 2009 and Kolhapur Milk Producers Union 2009 continuing

Shri Narayan Rane meets Dr. V. Kurien

Shri. Manohar Joshi was Chief Minister of Maharashtra during 1995-99. Shri.Narayan Rane was holding portfolio of Revenue and Dairying in his ministry. I was working as State coordinator of Maharashtra at NDDB, Mumbai office, and therefore,

I had to meet Shri. Narayan Rane frequently. Shri. Narayan Rane belongs to Konkan region of Maharashtra. We used to visit Shri. Narayan Rane’s office and would always request him to visit NDDB, Anand. The idea was to show him the working of Amul Dairy and activities of NDDB and arrange his meeting with Dr. V Kurien.

This type of approach always helped in furthering the cause of Operation Flood Programme in the state of Maharashtra.

As usual at the ministerial level, it was difficult to get dates and that too suitable to NDDB, Anand. However, in the year 1998, we could organize a meeting at NDDB, Anand. That day, I had an opportunity to travel with Shri. Narayan Rane from Mumbai to Vadodara, and then on the way to NDDB, Anand, I briefed Shri. Rane about the working of NDDB’s Operation Flood programme etc.

At Anand, as usual, we took him to a village co-operative society. He was impressed by the Anand Pattern dairy co-operative at village level. Later, we showed him Amul Dairy and in the afternoon, he met Dr. Kurien. After initial discussion, about implementation of OF programme in Maharashtra and various issues vis-à-vis dairy department, to my surprise, Shri Rane raised the issue of inclusion of Konkan area under OF programme.

Other NDDB officers were also surprised. Konkan is not known for milk production. Therefore, as per NDDB’s reports, the area was not covered under Operation Flood programme for milk production.

We were keeping silent and wondering what would Dr. Kurien’s reply be.

Dr. Kurien was used to such demands. He told Shri. Narayan Rane that, Anand Pattern Cooperatives are based on adequate amount of milk production already taking place in the milksheds to be covered under Operation Flood and the idea was to provide infrastructure and bring market closer to producers by linking marketing with production. In case of Konkan, generally farmers did not keep buffalos and cows, and even if they kept milch animals milk production was very low and therefore the project in Konkan was not going to be viable.

Therefore, he suggested that, instead of giving proposal for developing dairying in Konkan, we should find out other agricultural activities suitable for farmers in Konkan area such as cashew, mango etc. If farmers are ready to organize Mango Co-operatives for selling Alfanso mango, NDDB would help them in that project.

Shri Narayan Rane was still not convinced and continued to insist for inclusion of Konkan under the OF programme.

Later, NDDB included Konkan region only for marketing purpose.

This incidence clearly shows that how farmers’ leaders in Maharashtra were looking towards NDDB and its projects. Unfortunately, the essence of NDDB’s pattern was not understood properly. NDDB’s funds were available only for specific purpose, and were not available the way Govt. allocates funds purely based on local political considerations. In this case Dr. Kurien very diplomatically said no to Shri. Narayan Rane’s proposal.

While coming out of the meeting, the personal assistant of dairy minister asked me whether NDDB would give gift of Amul cheese and chocolates. I enquired with Shri. S.D. Burde , who was looking after public relations activities. Shri Burde told me that neither NDDB nor Amul give any gift to the guests except when the guest visits the Amul Chocolate plant. NDDB normally gave a ceramic replica its insignia Mohanjodaro bull to a visiting dignitary. We told the PA that if they were interested to have cheese and chocolates there was shop outside Amul dairy where one could go and purchase.

I had hard time in telling to P.A. that neither NDDB nor Amul had provision of giving gift to the guests. The Government officers accompanying the ministers were surprised as they would never get such treatment elsewhere.